Although the first quarter of 2020 was not the best-ever quarter for Bitcoin, the flagship cryptocurrency still managed to beat two of the three major U.S. stock indices — Dow Jones Industrial Average (aka “the Dow”) and the S&P 500 Index — by a wide margin.
World Health Organization (WHO) says that the first time it heard about a COVID-19 case was on 31 December 2019 when “the WHO China Country Office was informed of cases of pneumonia unknown etiology (unknown cause) detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China”
Since then, this highly contagious viral disease has launched a devastating attack on how we live and as a result on the world economy. The cost in human lives has been immense already: as of today, worldwide, we have seen 859,032 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 42,322 deaths.
With more and more people being forced to stay at home as lockdowns of cities continue in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus, almost all industries have suffered, which has resulted in a bear market that has brought major losses for most of the world’s stock markets.
The crypto markets have not been immune either, with March 12 being one of the worst days ever for almost all cryptoassets; this includes Bitcoin, which had a 50% flash crash.
If we look at Bitcoin’s performance for Q1 2020, we find that Bitcoin’s price dropped from $7,183 to $6,450 during this quarter, i.e. a loss of 10.20% against the U.S. dollar.
Although this appears to be not a great result for an asset that many in the crypto space have long heralded as the ultimate store of value during times of turmoil, Bitcoin’s performance begins to look a lot more impressive when we look at how the U.S. stock market did during the same period.
On Tuesday (March 31), the last day of Q1 2020, the Dow, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq closed 1.8% lower, 1.6% lower, and nearly 1% lower respectively.
This meant that the Dow ended up down 23.2% for this past quarter, thereby recording its worst-ever first quarter in 124 years.
As for the S&P 500, it was down 20% during the same period, which meant that it has just had itd worst quarter since Q4 2008.
Vijay Ayyar, head of business development at crypto exchange Luno, told CNBC:
“Bitcoin is still a relatively smaller asset class that is increasingly uncorrelated to traditional asset classes and this is in the process of being established as we speak. This is why I believe the current market environment is a big test for Bitcoin and given how young the asset class is, it has actually held up quite well.”
As for gold, which went up around 3.75% in Q1 2020, Ayyar said that it was “much more established as a safe haven asset” than Bitcoin, which has a smaller total user base, but then went on to say:
“… we’re seeing bitcoin lag gold a bit in terms of performance, but one can argue that as we move along in the next few months and years, bitcoin starts to take larger share away from gold and we will see an eventual ‘flippening’ happen, where bitcoin is at, or larger than, the market cap of gold and market movements in bitcoin start to reflect the overall market more accurately.”